The environment ministry has given a crucial clearance for the proposed Rs 26,000-crore international exhibition-cum-convention centre (ECC) project at Dwarka in Delhi, official sources told FE, paving the way for the development of the biggest such centre in South Asia. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs could soon take up a proposal to approve around Rs 2,800 crore, in the first tranche, for the project, one of the sources said. Trunk infrastructure, exhibition and convention components of the ECC are proposed to be built by the central government and commercial components like hotels, retail and office space will be developed in public-private partnership mode, said the sources. Following the Cabinet approval last year, the Delhi Development Authority transferred the land for the project to the department of industrial policy and promotion, which is now the owner of the project, while the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Development Corporation is acting as the knowledge partner. Once fully operational, expected by December 2019, the ECC is projected to create 5,00,000 direct and indirect jobs and raise India’s share three times in the Asian MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) market to 15%, according to a feasibility study note reviewed by FE. The ECC is proposed to be spread over 90 hectares of land in Sector 25, Dwarka, with overall built-up space of 1.02 million square metres.
From a foyer of almost 1 km to a grand arena, the centre will house all facilities worth having — exhibition halls, convention centres, banquet halls, a financial centre, hotels, food and beverage outlets, commercial and retail services and common internal infrastructure facilities. It’s designed to have 2,00,000 square metres of exhibition space, 60,000 square metres of convention space, a multipurpose arena with a capacity to accommodate 20,000, 3,500 hotel rooms and 3,75,000 square metres of retail and commercial space. The development of the centre is the most ambitious attempt by the government at catapulting India into the Ivy League of nations hosting conferences and exhibitions and raising its share in the massive $280-billion global MICE market.
Asia’s share of the global market is 14.3%, of which India makes up for just 4.9%. In stark contrast, China accounts for 68% of total available space for exhibition and conference facilities in Asia, and is second only to the US worldwide. Although the ECC project was initially conceived in 2010, the land transfer from DDA took place only in September last year. Since then, significant progress has been made in terms of planning, design and clearing of site for the project. The leasing of space for PPP components such as hotels, commercial and retail is scheduled to start from December this year.
The ECC will be around 15 minutes away from the international airport in New Delhi. The site is being linked up with arterial road and rail networks. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is taking up the extension of Airport Express metro line from Dwarka Sector 21 to the complex, with a dedicated station and three entry/exit points within the proposed centre. Construction of this line is expected to be completed by December 2019. The National Highways Authority of India has also prepared a scheme containing dedicated entry and exit routes to the centre from the north, east and west through the Urban Extension Road-II and Dwarka Expressway. An interchange has been proposed on Dwarka Expressway to handle the surge in traffic during any mega event.